2020 was a tumultuous year, and with tumultuous times comes great learning.
Virtual Leadership is the new norm. What are the skills, attributes, and key considerations for leading in a virtual setting? What do leaders need to do differently in a virtual environment? How does leadership change when team are working remote?
A lot has been, and will be, written about the importance of leadership communication in times of uncertainty and change. This year, unlike others in recent memory, challenges leaders to communicate with a higher bar of clarity, consistency and frequency.
We are living and working in extraordinary times. It’s safe to say that business leaders at all levels and across all industries have been tested – and will continue to be tested – unlike any other time in their careers. Navigating through the turbulence created by the Coronavirus pandemic requires two important leadership traits: competence and courage.
COVID-19 has challenged us all to be flexible and adaptable at an amazing rate of speed. Business forecasts that looked strong and growing two months ago have cratered, workloads that were off the charts suddenly disappeared, everyone has had to connect electronically, and a simple handshake is no longer a viable way to greet a colleague or seal a deal. It’s easy to slide into anxiety and be paralyzed by uncertainty, but how we frame this moment in time is a powerful lever to our mental health and productivity. Leaders have always had to be masters at framing their thinking and the thinking of others, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for that capability grew. What’s a Frame? Frames are the boundaries, interpretations and simplifications that we make mentally to understand a situation. We create them instinctively as a result of our experience and the data we take in, and they are particularly valuable in ambiguous or complex situations. We have both reactive frames, which shaped by our emotional responses, as well as proactive frames, which are shaped by logical thought. These mental filters not only help us make sense of a situation but also influence the range of actions we consider. As a result, our frame can be self-reinforcing, which is the powerful insight behind Chris Argyris’ “Ladder of Inference.” Frames are an integral part of processing information and making sense of a situation for ourselves. They are also a valuable tool to help leaders convey information to others.
Say what you will about the current crisis, it is clearly a crucible time for leaders. Not all leadership moments are created equal, and this one is huge. For most of us there has not been a more important time in our leadership lives. This is both good and bad news: it means the consequences of your leadership now will most likely have outsized impact in the future. How we each behave as leaders in these moments of fear and uncertainty, when our most basic human instincts crowd in, will be remembered long after the crisis is past. Like it or not, this will be part of your leadership legacy, so consider carefully the choices you make.
The last several days have been a whipsaw of adjustment for leaders and teams in organizations around the globe. The coronavirus pandemic has gone from casual remarks in pre-meeting chit-chat to disruption of supply chains, travel plans, work locations, childcare, and personal security in a blink of an eye.